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Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) - The Everyman and a Fish out of Water, like his filmic counterpart, though with some more Deadpan Snarker leanings added. He's also a bit too fond of the Idiot Ball. Younger than the movie character, who was approaching middle age and had been a manager for some time. In contrast, the TV version is still fairly fresh out of college and had only just finished management training before the pilot.
Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood) - Todd's love interest in the movie, she has UST with him on the show, but it was, of course, never fully resolved. When she's not being used for romance plots, she's a Generic Girl who tends to be Out of Focus in favor of the quirkier Madhuri.
Gupta (Parvesh Cheena) - A Wacky Guy with no counterpart in the movie. The show's Butt Monkey, though occasionally a Jerkass. Never stops talking. Ever.
Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader) - An American who has been running an Indian call center for some time. A Cynical Mentor to Todd. For some reason, Charlie appears to spend his off-hours getting involved in wacky hijinks with Todd's employees. The movie has a somewhat analogous character who appears in only one scene.
During its time on the air, the show acquired a Love It or Hate It status, with most mainstream critics falling into the "hate it" camp. The show has been accused of everything from being racist to being insensitive to victims of outsourcing, but is more often simply decried as being a weak comedy that's too similar in premise to 30 Rock and Community. Nevertheless, the show was starting to pick up a fanbase towards its end for whom the "racist" allegation in particular has been repeatedly decried as a case of Political Correctness Gone Mad based on the Everything Is Racist logic.
Brick Joke: You remember that one-off innuendo that Todd's boss was getting a happy ending at his massage? It isn't until two episodes later that we find out the masseuse was an undercover cop, the resulting scandal hit all the major newspapers, and it's the reason his marriage is falling apart.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: An Arranged Marriage plays a major factor in the current storyline, and despite the fact that the practice clearly offends the American protagonist, the show has taken a surprisingly non-judgmental route with the whole thing.
During his lecture on sexual harassment, Todd showed his workers a video from the 80s discussing what is and is not appropriate behavior in the workplace. Not only did Todd's staff think complimenting a coworker's blouse was inappropriate, but his employees to the sight of two people kissing as if it's pornography. Later, Madhuri reacts to their American boss Jerry kissing her hand as if she just had sex with him (or as she says "I just gave the milk away for free.")
Jerry is going through divorce negotiations, and feels it is inevitable. Rajeev is aghast at it and delivers a gives him a piece of his mind, accusing him of not trying hard enough to save his marriage. After all, Rajeev eagerly wishes to marry Vimi, much against her father's wishes, and will do what he can to keep his marriage steady for life.
Fictional Holiday: The Holi episode might seem like this but, sitcom hijinks aside, it's an actual holiday and it really is a custom to throw paint and powder at people. Charlie tries his best to make it a Paintball Episode, and it does assume similar proportions. It was also featured, with fewer hijinks, in the movie.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Pretty much every episode title is an Incredibly Lame Pun merging some aspect of Indian culture with an English phrase relevant to the plot. Examples include "A Sitar Is Born", "Sari, Charlie", and "Take This Punjab and Shove It".
Idiot Ball: Many of the problems Todd encounters could be avoided by reading a travel guide about India.
Similarly, many of the Indian workers come across a little too naive or lacking in knowledge given the amount of American culture that is exported via the internet/Hollywood movie/TV to India.
Innocent Innuendo: Gupta shaking his flashlight, which somehow is always seen from behind...
Ironic Echo: Todd's employees are ordered off a table by Charlie's workers, who lay claim to their table, with the words "Get Up". After a chain of events, we hear Todd's employees tell Charlie's to "Get Up" at the end of the episode. See Revenge.
Ironic Echo Cut: Asha chides Todd over 'contaminating the break room table', with a reference to his getting cosy with Tonya over it the night before. Cut to Gupta littering the same table with his eats.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Charlie's workers put on a neat American accent to show their wares, but often revert to their regular Indian accents while confronting Todd's workers. Another example is how Asha pronounces the name of a restaurant- "Lal Mirch"- the way a British or American national would, not like an Indian.
Out of Focus: Poor Asha. She was the secondary lead in the movie, but on the TV show she's lucky to get a Mandatory Line in between the shenanigans of her wackier co-workers.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tonya and Charlie have jobs running call centers similar to Todd's. We don't see Tonya's workplace until the sixteenth episode. We rarely see Charlie's subordinates. Charlie is shown goofing around with Todd's co-workers more often than his own.
There is a very bitter rivalry between Todd's workers and Charlie's 'A-team'. The 'A team' order Todd's unit off a table to which they lay claim, but Todd's workers refuse to cede the table. Later on, Todd's team seems to get massive orders which are really Charlie's workers making prank calls to them. They eventually have their revenge with Charlie's help when they eventually cede the table to Charlie's team only for the table and chairs to come crashing down with the workers sitting on them, as they were rigged to fall apart.
Todd recruits an Indian who spent a lot of his life in the United States and has good knowledge of the country's culture and is also a smart salesman- only for Tonya to poach him with an offer that doubles his salary. Todd's revenge? He helps Charlie hire him at an even higher salary.
The air-conditioning being hogged by GloboCon is another nice revenge story. First, when the rival call centre manager talks off Todd, Manmeet spills coffee on him. Then, they divert the air conditioning so that things get so hot upstairs, they are worried about losing a client because of that, and offer to double Todd's office internet speed, only to freeze all their computers with a virus. Todd eventually returns, and wages a Holi war on the employees of GloboCon, littering the area with paint, just as their clients step in.
Sensitivity Training: An entire episode about sexual harassment with the expected jokes involving different cultural standards of acceptable workplace conduct. Todd, for example, doesn't realize that touching Madhuri's shoulder is seen as inappropriate.
Shout-Out: The plot of rigging the air conditioning to cool Mid American Novelties (Todd's centre) when it was being hogged by the rival GloboCon centre had a very familiar feel to it. It was, however, missing a cable.
Whatever Happened To The Mouse: First, some of Charlie's A-team members who get plenty of screen time, and then American-born Kamik, first hired by Todd, then poached by Tonya and subsequently working for Charlie. The call centre run by Charlie is shut down towards the end of the series.